Greta – Blind since birth


Greta-9.03.2015We adopted Greta, a 4-month old German Shepherd/Labrador mix from our local animal shelter in May of this year. We enrolled her in puppy obedience training and noticed that she responded differently than the other puppies, in that she continued to jump on people, mouthed constantly and couldn’t find her treats when thrown. She also bumped into objects. We originally attributed her actions to “clumsy puppy syndrome.”

After three months of watching her behavior we took her to our vet who referred us to an ophthalmologist for dogs. Her examination showed that Greta’s optic nerves had not developed and she had been blind since birth. She has no sight on her right side and may be able to see movement on her left. Because Greta relies on her senses of smell and hearing, she does get around fairly well.

The ophthalmologist recommend the book, Living with Blind Dogs by Carolyn Levine. The book is an excellent resource and suggests ways to train a blind dog and protect it from harming itself.

Greta-July-2015-005Our challenge is providing Greta with toys that she can’t destroy. She has chewed up all the plush toys we gave her. She is a strong chewer and has chewed up several balls and rubber bones (last night, it was her tennis ball). Even hard plastic balls that we thought were save, she seems to find a week spot and chews up. So far,, the only toy that has not been destroyed is her kong. I would like to know if anyone else has this issue and am open to suggestions for toys for Greta.

2 thoughts on “Greta – Blind since birth

  1. Hi,
    I have a blind collie puppy and an adult (mega chewer) black lab. We get chews that will suit both. Like you we went through chews at a rate of knots due to the lab. I’ve found Kong the best, they do quite a range now, so perhaps different types of Kong.
    What I will say is that once our lab got past the pup phase his chewing settled so toys he couldn’t have before are OK now. Perhaps have a look on pinterest re making your own rope chews to mitigate the cost factor a little while he is getting past that chewing phase. Out lab now wanders around and gently nibbles on toys he used to demolish in 2 minutes
    We also find using puzzle bowls help with both dogs to help stimulate them mentally and tire them so they are less prone to chewing at other times.
    Hope you find some help in that grbled message

  2. Angela, Thanks for the comment. Our puppy is now 10 months old and still aggressively chewing toys. I have tried hard-rubber toys that I thought she couldn’t damage only for her to destroy them in minutes. I found a toy called Dogzilla that is a hard rubber that she can play with and hasn’t damaged yet. Along with her kong and her nylabones, that is it so far. I had thought of getting her the puzzle bowl for Christmas, which seems like a good suggestion from your post. It is encouraging to know that the chewing phase may subside in the future and she again have some of her slightly damaged toys returned to her.

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